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9-month cruise passenger ‘prays for the best’ as ship approaches treacherous Drake Passage (Exclusive)

Brandee Lake, a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise, talks to PEOPLE about traveling to Antarctica via the infamous TitTok route



<p>Courtesy of Brandee Lake</p>
<p> Brandee Lake at Royal Caribbean” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/MM5H2oY9bZq8XlRXzMI3_Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/19ba340b452f9 47a1bedc8662c12fb5e “/></p>
<p>Courtesy of Brandee Lake</p>
<p> Brandee Lake at Royal Caribbean” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/MM5H2oY9bZq8XlRXzMI3_Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/19ba340b452f9 47a1bedc8662c12fb5e ” class=”caas-img”/><button class=

Courtesy of Brandee Lake

Brandee Lake on Royal Caribbean’s 9-month Ultimate World Cruise

Brandee Lake is taking the same approach to the Drake Passage as she has since embarking on the Ultimate World Cruise exactly one month ago: What will be will be.

The Brannon files podcaster, 46, has been making waves along with other TikTok influencers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas for its nine-month global voyage. And in an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, Lake discussed the impending journey to Antarctica via the Drake Passage, known for its unpredictable and often treacherous conditions.

“I just hope (and) pray for the best,” said Lake, who is traveling with her sister and parents on the trip that lasts until September 2024 and will cover all seven continents, including 60 countries and 11 wonders of the world.

“I’m actually the only person in our family who gets motion sickness, but I have all my small appliances, wristbands, Band-Aids and gum,” she adds.

The Drake Passage is a body of water with an average depth of about 3,000 meters that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is located about 160 kilometers north of the Antarctic Peninsula, between Cape Horn (also called the southernmost point of South America) and the South Shetland Islands.

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<p>Getty</p>
<p> Stormy sea conditions in the Drake Passage” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/8BmJgRAlyZRhFbGsVqdujg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/ 6498f0d6ac2fda70485aeb03a40e1914″/></p>
<p>Getty</p>
<p> Stormy sea conditions in the Drake Passage” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/8BmJgRAlyZRhFbGsVqdujg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/ 6498f0d6ac2fda70485aeb03a40e1914″ class=”caas-img”/><button class=

Getty

Stormy sea conditions in the Drake Passage

Related: Viral TikTok Shows Waves Crashing into Ship Windows During ‘Treacherous’ Journey Through Drake Passage to Antarctica

The waterway was first crossed by Willem Schouten during an expedition in 1616 and “played an important role in the trade of the 19th and early 20th centuries before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914,” according to Britannica. The frequent storms and icy conditions posed an even greater danger to the ships of the time, but still make modern travelers nervous.

Today, the Drake Passage is trending on TikTok, with some of the most viewed (and heartbreaking) videos including footage of travelers in ships with giant waves crashing against their windows.

Many TikTok users who follow influencers posting about participating in the Ultimate World Cruise have expressed concern about the Serenade of the Seas, a 20-year-old ship, making it through the Drake Passage unscathed — especially considering the flooding that occurred on the ship after a storm last week off the coast of South America.

Lake, who says she didn’t witness the flooding, tells PEOPLE that everyone on board is “just anticipating what it’s going to be like,” especially since their route was recently adjusted to cross the Drake Passage earlier than initially expected due to better conditions than predicted. during the time they were originally supposed to go.

Now their journey through it starts on Wednesday.

“If they moved it upstairs because it was going to get worse, does that mean it’s going to be bad, or does that mean we’re going to be lucky because we moved it upstairs and maybe it won’t be so crazy?” says More. “They did say the swell could be up to seven meters, that’s about six meters.”

But she has full confidence in Captain Stig Nilsen, who previously said in a Royal Caribbean blog post that he is descended from “generations of sailors and deep-sea fishermen” and has more than four decades of seafaring experience himself.

“He’s from Norway. So the handling of the Drake Passage and the Arctic stuff… we’re in very good hands,” Lake says.

When asked if she ever thought she would make it to Antarctica, Lake, who has traveled extensively, tells PEOPLE: “It was always something I wanted to do, but (if) I thought I would ever go… I looked at the prices for it and said, “Hmm. Definitely on my list of things to do, but do I know if it will ever happen?” “

“So it made the cruise much more exciting and, I would say, more achievable,” Lake adds.



<p>Courtesy of Brandee Lake</p>
<p> Brandee Lake at Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, as part of Royal Caribbean’s 9-month Ultimate World Cruise” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/srXmiH07SqceKieREPRpOQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMw –/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/482b963c4486f836af43d363789c423c”/></p>
<p>Courtesy of Brandee Lake</p>
<p> Brandee Lake at Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, as part of Royal Caribbean’s 9-month Ultimate World Cruise” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/srXmiH07SqceKieREPRpOQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMw –/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/482b963c4486f836af43d363789c423c” class=”caas-img”/></p></div>
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Courtesy of Brandee Lake

Brandee Lake at Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, as part of Royal Caribbean’s 9-month Ultimate World Cruise

Related: Explorer begins 1,100-mile trek to become first woman to complete solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica

Lake says she and the trip’s other influencers regularly “encourage” each other, and each brings something unique to the content they share on social media.

She also says she’s “100% surprised” by the viral attention the cruise is getting: “I think for all of us, we were just sharing our travel story.” We absolutely did not (think) this would happen. .”

As for what she’s most looking forward to after already visiting world wonders like Chichén Itzá in Mexico and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil in the past month, Lake says Antarctica is at the top of her list, as is Machu Picchu in Brazil. Peru.

Leading up to her departure from Miami on December 10, she says, “There were moments where I thought, ‘Wow, this is a really unique experience,'” she recalls. “I had those moments. But I worked all the way until literally the Friday before we left on Sunday.”

“I don’t know if I had time to slow down and think about how big and wonderful it was,” Lake adds. “And I think seeing people’s interest in it helps to remind or show me that this is a really unique experience.”

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